United Kingdom

Residents turfed out as dozens of flats to be demolished and rebuilt

Doris Lloyd has lived in her flat for 35 years (Image: Richard Swingler)

More than a hundred residents will see their homes knocked down in several areas of Newport, south Wales. Surveys found numerous problems, including deteriorating roofs and exteriors, damp and condensation issues and a lack of fire safety.

But the work means the residents will have to move, which has angerred some.

Doris Lloyd, who has lived with her husband in her home in the Alway area since 1986, told Wales Online she doesn’t want to leave the property.

The 81-year-old woman said: “We had the letter a few weeks ago. They didn’t say they were pulling them down, it was just options.

“I don’t want to move. Where would they put us? They’d have to put you where you want to go, not where they want you to go.

“We are happy here, we don’t get any problems. We used to with the kids, but they’ve all grown up now. Halloween there used to be eggs thrown at the windows. But not anymore.

“We’ve been here all these years, we’ve accumulated all this rubbish that they’d have a job clearing this out.”

Newport City Homes flats

Flats in Newport are set to be demolished (Image: Richard Swingler)

I don’t want to move. Where would they put us?

Doris Lloyd

Newport City Homes says the extensive work will begin between winter this year and spring 2022.

Doris, though, doesn’t understand why the work needs to be carried out.

“Now and again the bulbs will go in the bathroom or the kitchen, but they renew them. We don’t do that. But we don’t have no issues,” the pensioner said.

“Where would they put us while they’re rebuilding it? They’re not dumping me anywhere. What are they going to build? All they can build is more flats or houses.

“There haven’t been renovations here in years and years. They used to come around and paint the outside and all that, but they haven’t.

“You’d need a bulldozer to move my husband. We’ve been here so long now. You’re used to your surroundings.

“I have problems walking up the stairs, but I manage it. There are 16 steps, I get here and sit down and I’m fine.”

Diane Heard

Diane Heard has lived in her Gaer flat for 15 years (Image: Richard Swingler)

Diane Heard, who has lived in her flat in the Gaer area for 15 years, said she’s “very happy” there.

The 75-year-old resident, who has had her house altered and partly refitted as she uses a wheelchair when she’s out and about, said: “I’ve been happy here.

I don’t know where we’re going to go. I don’t think they’re going to rush this though.

“I don’t know how long they’re going to take to sort it out.”

But the pensioner hopes the work will make the properties larger.

Diane added: “They were saying some of them might be three-bedroom houses. They could do that with these ones.

“I’ve made it as comfortable as I can, but you can’t make it bigger.

“I’ve had damp but got it cleaned up, got the walls done with some bleach. There is damp in the bathroom which is bad. I try to keep it warm. I have tried.”

Karen Morgan

Karen Morgan thinks the demolition is a good idea (Image: Richard Swingler)

Newport City Homes, a housing association which provide homes and services to more than 20,000 people, says it has “worked with residents to understand their views on their homes”.

And Karen Morgan, who has lived in Gaer for eight years after losing her previous home in a fire, supports the plans.

Karen, 47, said: “I’m glad. You can’t swing a cat in here.

“I went into temporary accommodation when I lost my house. I think what they’ll do is something like that.

“Just knock them down and hurry up about it. It’s long overdue. I’d like to stay here because my partner lives over the road. You can’t get anywhere no better than the Gaer.”

Newport City Homes flats

Some 106 flats across Newport are to be knocked down and rebuilt (Image: Richard Swingler)

Rachel George, Head of Regeneration at Newport City Homes, said: “We have worked closely with communities this year to identify what work, if any, we may look to carry out in the future. The options we have considered include continuing with general day-to-day repairs only, carrying out extensive refurbishment or regeneration, through demolishing existing properties and building new homes in their place.

“As part of this work, we have looked at the general condition of homes, including any damp and mould. We have also considered what work may be required to help homes become more energy efficient and reach zero carbon. We have worked with residents to understand their views on their homes and the options available. This work has resulted in Newport City Homes looking at the option of regeneration in more detail, in some specific areas.

“This includes homes in Penkin Hill and Aberthaw Road in Alway, Dickens Drive and Kipling Hill in the Gaer, and Oak Road in Rogerstone. By regenerating the 106 existing homes in these areas, we can make sure that these homes are fit for the future and suit the needs of our existing and future residents. We have engaged closely with affected residents to understand their views on this and we’ll continue to keep them updated on our progress.

“Our work remains in the early stages, and no planning applications have been made at this time. We have already started to engage with our residents in Oak Road and we expect to start more detailed engagement with Alway and Gaer residents in spring/summer 2022.

“We understand that residents may be concerned about how this work may affect them. Before any future regeneration activity takes place, we will continue to work closely with local communities to understand any concerns and preferences they may have and do our best to address these wherever we can.”

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